A lovely psa from AARP that shows a no-longer-100% independent parent needing to rely on a child for basics that COULD be experienced as demeaning.
How does she avoid that insidious message? Through humor.
Mom & I laughed so much. Ditto with clients like Anne & Marg & Richard. When things went awry & they could have felt like doddering dorks, we found the humor & laughed.
Changing roles doesn’t mean exchanging them – Mom didn’t become the child, I didn’t become the parent. She was Mom in her late 80s, I was her Schatzi Schultzenheimer in my 40s. I gave her an arm to hold onto when she needed it, she did countless things to keep me in every sort of balance.
While Mom was perhaps especially adept at seeing the transitions she was making into older age as natural, I like to think that her children – including John – played a role in helping her hold onto her sense of self & service.
EVERYONE should have a 90-year old mother comfortable enough in her own skin to write: It is not all “beer and skittles”–there are some rough patches. The changes that come with old age are scary, especially changes in life roles. I have not enjoyed the hands-on role of wife for over 26 years. At ninety, I cannot even manage the role I played as a parent. The resources just are not there. I cannot provide massive emotional or even minor financial support. I cannot wash a floor or do the grocery shopping or even dust my own room. (I can still shell hard boiled eggs and clean mushrooms!)
Like this father, who has the grit & grace to laugh with his own beloved child.
Roles change, love is constant.